SAN ANTONIO — “Whatever it Takes: The Amazing Adventures of God’s Work Around the World,” published by Broadman & Holman in 2003, is the chronicle of a life-time worth of miracles for one man of faith while laboring to see the gospel of Jesus Christ span the globe. The book is the story of a man marked by God for great things for the kingdom’s sake.
The journey begins in WWII where author and SBTC consultant for partnership missions W.H. “Dub” Jackson served with the Forty-ninth Fighter Group flying P-38 fighter planes. It was during Jackson’s years in military service that his eyes would be opened to the physical, emotional and spiritual post-war needs of the Japanese. The book opens with the exciting tale of an emergency crash landing in a P-38 deep in the heart of New Guinea in which Jackson recounts the miracle of God’s protection.
“I never cease to give thanks to God for his constant care. Clearly on this flight and every flight in World War II, I firmly believe that he preserved my life for the missionary service he later called us to,” Jackson wrote in the opening chapter. “I could not have imagined all of the spiritual joys, battles and victories he was going to give to us in our missionary service and witness to the Japanese who were so aggressively seeking to destroy us.”
Beyond God’s protection during flight maneuvers on the front lines of battle, Jackson recounts God’s saving grace in his life as time in Japan prepared him for missionary service with his wife, Doris. It is within the setting of WWII bomb raids and the U.S. occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1946 that God would instill in this Texas-born fighter pilot a dream of partnership evangelism for which he is now well-known.
In the aftermath of the war, Jackson quickly discovered the need for missionaries to enter the county to present the Japanese with new hope. When few missionaries were to be found, Jackson enlisted the help of non-missionary personnel and a seed was planted for partnership missions.
“…Japan was in ruins, but Japanese hearts were open to the gospel and hungry for a message of hope. When the emperor surrendered, the Japanese had to acknowledge that he was not divine. The morale of the country was zero. They had lost not only the war but also their hope for the future.”
On off-hours, Jackson organized evangelistic meetings and campaigns to help missionaries serving in Japan. He entered Japanese schools and shared his testimony and played his trumpet for students. He also gathered food, clothing and blankets to starving Japanese communities – all at the age of 21.
“Thank the Lord, today we can be introduced to world needs through Partnership Evangelism instead of through war!”
Miracles of God’s protection and provision are woven into the fabric of the story of the Jacksons’ attempts to further the gospel around the world. In beginning new churches, to providing help and financial resources to bring people to Christ, God’s hand is unmistakably attributed to the success of the couple. In chapter three, Jackson recounts a time in 1950, while pastoring in Mineral Wells and attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, when a need presented itself to return to Japan for short-term mission work. Feeling burdened to respond to such a need, Jackson resigned from the pastorate and bought a one-way ticket to Japan trusting in God to provide the money while overseas to purchase a ticket back home.
The miracles of God continued in the ministry of the Jacksons as the couple experienced a call to full-time mission work and planted Asahigawa Baptist Church in Hokkaido, Japan. A fund for a city-wide evangelistic crusade found an investor in retired missionary to China resulting in 350 decisions for Christ. Those who made professions of faith were baptized in a river during heavy snow falls and cold rain. Jackson recounts: “Baptismal candidates, for lack of changing facilities, were forced to wear their wet clothing for over an hour after the service before we could get them to a place to change.”
The need for a place to worship and baptize was later provided by the Jackson’s themselves as nearly a hundred church members met in the couple’s living room and then were baptized in a wooden barrel in their one-car garage. It was during the times of cold and cramped worship meetings, that the Jacksons employed the phrase “Whatever it Takes,” a motto that would follow them 50 years into their ministry of reaching the lost.
The book also recounts the origination, preparation and miracles of the 1963 New Life Movement, a “massive evangelistic campaign,” beginning in Tokyo that eventually reached all of Asia with the name of Jesus. The NLM began as a dream of Jackson and was the largest step toward partnership evangelism. In the time span of six weeks, over 45,000 people made professions of faith. Baptist leaders such as T.A. Patterson, Ramsey Pollard, Owen White, Herschel Hobbs, and Baker James Cauthen, Billy Graham, and Wade Freeman preached and supported the event.
After the success of NLM, Jackson began to enlist the support of state-side churches in adopting international congregations and sending church members on short-term mission trips. The Jacksons’ pioneering work continued as they returned to Texas from the mission field and presented their idea of partnership missions to top SBC officials and former International Mission Board President Keith Parks. The quest for promotional and financial support for partnership missions was a long road riddled with many obstacles including rejection from the IMB. However, the Jackson’s continued enlisting the support of SBC churches until “20 years after its inception. Partnership Evangelism was adopted” by the IMB in 1981.
The victories of partnership evangelism find their origin in the Jackson’s abandonment to “God’s plan to win the world now.” The story of this Texas Baptist begins as a layperson who witnesses the need for Christ in wr-torn countries. The ending of the story reveals determined missionaries, renewed by God’s protection, begging others to see the lost through the eyes of Christ.
“Whatever it Takes: The Amazing Adventures of God’s Work Around the World,” can be purchased at any local LifeWay Christian Bookstore.